Bungling thieves spilled several hundred litres of home heating oil over the grounds of a Derry playgroup this weekend after botching a raid of the centre’s oil tank.
Galliagh’s Rainbow Playgroup was targeted by the thieves on Friday night when they cut through pipes leading from the tank and attempted to siphon off the oil.
Centre Co-ordinator Jacki Connolly said staff were made aware of the damage on Saturday morning. “The tarmac was just covered in black oil. Oil had run back into the building and the smell was overwhelming.
“We knew we were due to start our summer scheme on Monday morning so we had staff in all weekend trying to clear things up and get rid of the smell.
“We honestly didn’t know if we would be able to open our doors again for Monday. I had to phone around and try and get alternative accommodation sorted just in case.
“Thankfully we were able to open as normal, although the children have not been able to play outside because the place is still saturated with oil.”
Jacki said the centre had only recently topped up their oil tank and believe upwards of 200 or 300 litres was spilled out over the tarmac play area. “They clearly were trying to steal the oil but something went wrong and they just left it gushing over the tarmac.”
“We seem to be being targeted more and more often these days and it’s exceptionally frustrating. We’re just trying to run our business and look after the children.
“Our staff had to give up their weekend to be here trying to deal with this latest incident and we just think someone has to know who is responsible.
“Whoever did this would have gone home covered in oil and smelling strongly of oil. Surely someone will have the conscience enough to report whoever was responsible to the police.”